must be carefully evaluated before any action is taken. It is as important and necessary to realize as it is absolutely wrong to adjust occlusal pre contacts in the acute situation of functional facial pain.The latter ” interferences ” may not be real as they might not exist under normal or pain free circumstances. They might be due to changed muscular conditions in the dysfunction of the stomatognathic system and most probably they will disappear with a normalization of the function. In my opinion it is therefore an absolute necessity to always normalize the muscle function via reversible means before any change of the occlusal surfaces takes place. This is done through the insertion of a stabilization splint made in the correct mandibular position, based upon the findings of the condylar heights visible in the panoramic x- ray, and worn according to the preliminary diagnosis during 4-6 months . Not until then an occlusal adjustment can be considered.
Although occlusal pre contacts cause an oral instability with mostly a slide between the retruded position of the mandible ( RPM ) and the intercuspal position ( ICP ) pre contacts on the ” higher condyle ” side may indicate the true vertical dimension of the occlusion ( the static relation between the teeth of the maxilla and of the mandible ).Therefore these contacts will function as the guide for an increase of the vertical dimensions of the teeth not in contact on the opposite side in equivalent regions. Thus ,it is my advice that, occlusal pre contacts on the ” higher condyle ” side should not be removed. If so, there is a major risk that the vertical dimension will get decreased and problems due to a too low vertical dimension of the occlusion will occur.
Occlusal pre contacts on the ” shorter condyle ” side in the retruded position of the mandible ( RPM ) most likely are true interferences and can therefore be removed after a normalization of the muscle function. They should also be removed prior to the introduction of new elements into the occlusion via prosthodontics.
At condylar symmetry i.e. when the two condylar heights are of equal size, pre contacts in the retruded position of the mandible ( RPM ) should be removed pre prostodontically. If no further rehabilitation is planned or indicated these pre contacts can be left unless they produce a major lateral slide between the retruded position of the mandible ( RPM ) and the intercuspal position (ICP ).The general rule remains: DO NOT CONTRIBUTE TO UNNECESSARY CHANGES OF THE OCCLUSION IN A PATIENT WITHOUT PAIN ! NEVER APPLY OCCLUSAL ADJUSTMENT AS A PURE PREVENTION !